Today is Wednesday, May 24, the 144th day of 2023. There are 221 days left in the year.
In 1844, Samuel F.B. Morse transmitted the message “What hath God wrought” from Washington to Baltimore as he formally opened America’s first telegraph line.
In 1935, the first major league baseball game to be played at night took place at Cincinnati’s Crosley Field as the Reds beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 2-1.
In 1937, in a set of rulings, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Social Security Act of 1935.
In 1941, the German battleship Bismarck sank the British battle cruiser HMS Hood in the North Atlantic, killing all but three of the 1,418 men on board.
In 1961, a group of Freedom Riders was arrested after arriving at a bus terminal in Jackson, Mississippi, charged with breaching the peace for entering white-designated areas. (They ended up serving 60 days in jail.)
In 1962, astronaut Scott Carpenter became the second American to orbit the Earth as he flew aboard Aurora 7.
In 1974, American jazz composer and bandleader Duke Ellington, 75, died in New York.
In 1976, Britain and France opened trans-Atlantic Concorde supersonic transport service to Washington.
In 1980, Iran rejected a call by the World Court in The Hague to release the American hostages.
In 1994, four Islamic fundamentalists convicted of bombing New York’s World Trade Center in 1993 were each sentenced to 240 years in prison.
In 1995, former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson died in London at age 79.
In 2006, “An Inconvenient Truth,” a documentary about former Vice President Al Gore’s campaign against global warming, went into limited release.
In 2011, Oprah Winfrey taped the final episode of her long-running talk show.
In 2013, President Barack Obama addressed the sexual assault epidemic staining the military, telling U.S. Naval Academy graduates to remember their honor depended on what they did when nobody was looking and said the crime had “no place in the greatest military on earth.” British fighter jets intercepted a Pakistan International Airlines Boeing 777 carrying more than 300 people from Pakistan and diverted it to an isolated runway at London-Stansted Airport, where two British passengers who had allegedly threatened to destroy the plane were arrested. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford denied that he smoked crack cocaine and said he was not an addict after a video purported to show him using the drug.
In 2018, after a Justice Department briefing, Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said there was no evidence to support claims that there was a government spy in President Donald Trump’s campaign. The president abruptly canceled a planned summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, blaming “open hostility” from North Korea. (A week later, Trump announced that the summit would take place in mid-June.) Trump granted a rare posthumous pardon to boxing’s first black heavyweight champion, Jack Johnson, more than 100 years after what many see as a racially-charged conviction for violating the Mann Act by traveling with his white girlfriend. The president signed into law a measure loosening restraints for banks imposed after the 2008 financial crisis. A gunman was shot and killed by two bystanders after opening fire at an Oklahoma City restaurant and wounding three patrons. Jerry Maren, the last surviving Munchkin from the 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz,” died at a San Diego nursing home; he was 99.
One year ago: An 18-year-old gunman opened fire at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, killing 19 children and two teachers. The gunman, Salvador Ramos, a former student at the school, was also killed. It was the deadliest shooting at a U.S. grade school since the attack in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, almost a decade earlier. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine reached the three-month mark, with Moscow bogged down in what increasingly appeared to be a war of attrition, with no end in sight and few successes on the battlefield. An Iraqi man living in Ohio was arrested on a charge of plotting to assassinate former President George W. Bush.